Say goodbye to boring chicken and bland tofu with these sweet and sour tamarind recipes.
It’s such a fun and sticky ingredient and I just know you’ll love it.
If you’ve never had or heard of tamarind, you’re in for a real treat. This exotic fruit takes your favorite easy Asian recipes to a whole new level of yum!
The best part is, it’s used in sweet and savory meals, adding a wonderful depth of flavor and deep caramel color.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!
1. Pad Thai
In the mood for an easy Thai recipe that’s packed with incredible taste and texture? Pad Thai is the way to go.
It’s a colorful stir-fry of egg noodles, meat, peanuts, scrambled egg slices, tofu, and bean sprouts tossed in a sweet and savory sauce.
With a combination of fish and oyster sauce, brown sugar, and tamarind puree, this Pad Thai has a wonderful balance of flavors.
Fish curry isn’t the most obvious choice, but I think you’ll be surprised at how well the right type of fish holds its shape and flavor in a recipe like this.
This Indian-inspired stew is incredibly creamy with a warming finish. The tamarind enhances the broth’s flavors through its tanginess and light citrus notes.
I know that spinach dip is a classic and safe choice to serve as an appetizer. But if you want to change things up a bit, you have to try this chutney!
This Indian dip is a dreamy combination of cilantro, coconut, green chilies, and tamarind.
Use it as a sauce to idli (rice cakes) or a dip for dosa (Indian flat pancakes) and samosas (Indian dumplings).
It will pair well with pretty much any easy Indian appetizer you can think of.
Or, just try them with simple chips and crackers.
This is another Thai dish that you’ll want to add to your weekly meal rotation.
It’s a bright shrimp and mushroom soup with a kick. Its unique blend of herbs and spices makes it distinct and wonderfully Asian.
From the citrusy lemongrass to the sour tamarind, this soup is definitely bursting with amazing flavors.
If the thought of a garden salad just doesn’t excite you anymore, why not switch things up and try this Thai prawn salad?
While it does look similar to the usual salad, it’s loaded with fantastic flavors your taste buds will fall for.
Packed with red cabbage, fresh green prawns, and a sweet, sour, and spicy tamarind dressing, this salad is next level.
Pineapple juice and boozy cocktails sure are refreshing, but nothing compares to the thirst-quenching goodness of this tamarind drink.
It’s in a league of its own!
While Agua de Tamarindo is technically a traditional Mexican drink, it’s also very popular in Asian countries. That’s just how good it is.
This sweet and sour beverage is a must-have on summer days when the weather is exceptionally hot.
Canh Chua is a Vietnamese soup famous for its puckering yet pleasantly sour broth.
The combination of tangy tamarind and sweet pineapple gives it a delightful flavor balance.
Aside from the broth, though, this soup is also loaded with fish steaks and a medley of vegetables.
You can serve it in bowls and eat it on its own, but it’s best consumed with a heaping scoop of white rice.
Here’s another chutney recipe to dunk your chips in.
Made with apples, tamarind, dates, jaggery (cane sugar), spices, and more, this chutney has a lovely combination of sweet, salty, savory, and spicy.
Besides being a dip, you can also use this chutney to liven up your favorite BBQ recipes. I think it would be extra delicious smothered on some slow-roasted ribs.
The Indians like chutney, but the Thais prefer this mind-blowing chili jam.
It’s a mix of Thai chilies, miso and tamarind paste, palm sugar, and more, giving it a delightfully balanced finish.
While it’s technically a jam, it’s so much more than that!
Top it on baked potatoes, grilled meats, and fish, use it to flavor your favorite soup, or as a dip with deep-fried pork rinds.
I’m such a sucker for curry, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try. And I’m so happy I did!
The chicken is wonderfully tender and juicy and coated in a thick and creamy curry sauce.
It’s slow-cooked for hours, so you know the chicken will absorb all the flavors and stay perfectly moist.
Serve it with one of these authentic Indian bread recipes.
Here’s another Indian curry I don’t ever want to live without.
Flavored with a wide variety of spices, coconut milk, and tamarind, among others, this curry is wildly creamy with a kick. It’s the stuff of legends!
The lamb is just as good, too. It’s tender and juicy, and so mouthwatering with its distinct gamy taste.
Mangoes, habaneros, and tamarind join forces to create this overwhelmingly tasty chutney.
It has a perfect balance of thick and chunky, as well as sweet, sour, and spicy. It’s so good I can eat it with a spoon.
The best part is that you can put this on whatever taco recipe you like. From chicken and shrimp to steak and tofu, you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t be fooled by this seemingly unassuming dish. This Thai pork loin in tamarind sauce is a masterpiece!
The pork loin is marinated for hours in a blend of tamarind juice, Worcestershire sauce, and spices. It’s then oven-roasted to tender perfection.
Serve with black beans, rice, or your favorite Thai side dish.
14. Peanut Sauce
Malaysian satay is not complete without a rich and delectable peanut sauce.
Made with peanuts, tamarind, dried chilies, garlic, lemongrass, and more, it may look basic, but it’s definitely bursting with flavor.
Try it on everything from grilled chicken to veggie skewers for a wonderful fusion of cuisines!
15. Egg Kulambu
Kulambu or Kuzhambu is an Indian term that refers to gravy-based dishes.
So, an egg kulambu is a dish of hard-boiled eggs swimming in a delicious gravy.
Flavored with curry, chilies, tamarind, and spices, its gravy isn’t the brown sauce you’re expecting. Instead, it’s a super thick and creamy broth bursting with warming spices.
In the US, we like our crab served with just a little bit of clarified butter, but things are a little different in Vietnam.
It may be a small country, but its cuisine is bursting with big flavors.
This sweet, sour, and spicy tamarind and chili crab recipe is proof.
17. Tamarind Balls
Tamarind balls are a popular sweet treat in Asia. But if you can’t find a bag in your local Asian store, why not make your own?
They’re sweet, sour, salty, and a little bit spicy all at the same time.
And though the flavors are fantastic, the soft, sticky, and chewy textures make them even more addictive.
This fried fish is wonderfully crunchy on the outside and perfectly juicy and flaky on the inside.
It has a mild salty flavor, which is significantly enhanced by a rich tamarind sauce.
Made with tamarind pulp, palm sugar, chilies, and other spices, this sauce bursts with immense flavors.
As much as I love fall-off-the-bone ribs with classic BBQ sauce, I’ve been craving these incredible Asian ribs recently.
The tamarind gives the ribs a delightful tartness, while the chipotle keeps it smoky.
You should probably go ahead and make extra. I have a feeling you’ll need it!
Sinigang na baboy is an authentic Filipino recipe of tender pork rib cutlets and vegetables in a sour and savory broth.
Of course, this soup gets its puckering yet pleasant tanginess from tamarind.
Complemented with fish sauce, the sour flavor is balanced out with a little bit of saltiness.
The broth alone is so good, you’ll find yourself slurping the bowl!
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